The crucial 2019 general elections and state assembly elections are just a year away and Indian fast bowler Mohammed Shami’s estranged wife and model Hasin Jahan joining Congress and the party going gaga over it on social media has dispirited a large section of its supporters. While a majority of Congress followers finds the growing public dissatisfaction over the incumbent BJP government in both the state and centre to be a possible opportunity for a comeback, Congress lacking the fire to use the opportune time is acting as a wet blanket for them.
Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam on Tuesday welcomed Hasin Jahan into the party and party’s Twitter handle announced it with much excitement. Jahan grabbed the headlines and took the Cricket fraternity by storm earlier this year after she accused her husband Mohammed Shami of mental and physical assault and having extramarital affairs. Although Shami throughout denied all the allegations against him, his wife made enough hue and cry by posting screenshots of Shami’s alleged chats with other women or a series of snaps with his rumoured girlfriends. Jahan, a model by profession, also filed a case of domestic violence against her husband and his family in the Alipore Court in Kolkata under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. She even accused the India Cricketer of match-fixing; however, the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) Anti-Corruption Unit later gave a clean chit to him.
What are the criteria for becoming a politician? What has Hasin Jahan done to be eligible to join Congress party? How will her induction help the main national Opposition party before upcoming Lok Sabha polls? How will her presence make Congress stand stronger to fight against BJP? — all these are some of much criticism that is going around since Tuesday evening after Jahan’s induction to Congress.
When AV countered the state Congress leadership about the significance of Jahan’s induction into party ahead of general and state polls, the President of Maharashtra Pradesh Mahila Congress Committee Adv Charulata Tokas asserted, “Congress welcomes those candidates who abide by principles and ideology of the party. BJP has misled the people; hence, many candidates are keen to join Congress. Congress doesn’t make false promises. Congress has made a vital contribution to the nation’s development. The party has implemented several welfare schemes for poor people and it will continue to do good work in the future.”
Since BJP’s major decisions like GST, demonetisation went against public sentiment; it created a high-yielding battlefield for Congress and its national and regional leaders to draw attention on this and prepare to highlight the anti-Modi wave sentiment for its advantage. However, the party failed to continue its activeness highlighting these issues and also failed to bring all like-minded parties together for a Mahagathbandhan. The very recent fuel price hike and Rafale deal were too possible shots for Congress while the party also failed to liven up to the expectations. While Hasin Jahan has no political experience or position to add value to the party, it seems Congress is falling for the glamour trap rather than focussing on strategically stronger poll preparation.
Congress leader and spokesperson Dr. Raju Waghmare expressed, “Congress party never approaches anyone to join the party. Those who are keen to join the party voluntarily, they do so. Congress party has provided good governance and has delivered the promises made by it. While inducting a person into the party, we don’t think that what benefits the outfit will derive from it. More importance is given to the principles and ideology of the party.”
Political journalist Nilesh Khare observed, “I don’t think that Hasin Jahan’s induction into Congress will change the fortunes of the party. Since she is not a renowned face and very few people know her, it won’t make much difference. When asked about Congress party inducting glamorous faces he replied, “Not only Congress but other parties like BJP too are doing it.”